Catholic Seminary Rector: State Criticism Of Priest Training Is Groundless

Андрэй Рылка

While commenting the statement of the Plenipotentiary for relifgions and nationalities Leanid Hulyaka about the small number of students of Belarusian seminaries, father Andrey Rylko, the rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic interdiocesan seminary, explains that the notion of a pirest vocation cannot be compared to “staff training”.

The rector tells that the preparatory work – in form of recollections for young men willing to take orders – is being carried out regularly. “Such work is performed in the atmosphere of openness in talking with young people”, – said he according to Radio Vaticana.

While admitting th peculiarity of this year’s situation – only one young man had entered the seminary this year- the rector finds comparing current figures with the figures of the late 90s, when many people entered the seminary.

“This global problem is secularization, the priest insists. – The second is the demographic crisis”. The third cause of the decline of the number of stuadmit dents is more delicate: the vocation is given from above.

“We can’t force anybody to priesthood. Our task is to find out whether vocation was sent to a young man from God, whether he is ready to dedicate his life to it. If somebody have such a vocation, he needs time to recognize it. Today, maybe we have few seminarists but tomorrow it may change”, – the rector explained.

While talking about the opinion of the official, the seminary’s rector considers it biased and points out that the seminary lacks governmental support: “Instead of commenting on the seminary’s life they should better inquire about it. They should better interest in the life of the Catholic Church. It seems sometimes that they critcize us and fail to admit our achievements”. At the same time Father Rylko stresses that Pinsk seminary still hopes for a productive dialog.